Institute voluntarily reveals its figures and issues call to arms for SMEs to follow suit

Ben Derbyshire

RIBA president Ben Derbyshire

The RIBA has called on the architecture sector to exceed current government requirements on pay transparency and publish data on differentials between male and female staff regardless of company size.

Under new requirements, firms with 250 employees or more need to publish a gender-specific breakdown of mean and median hourly rates of pay, and bonus details.

While firms including Foster & Partner, Zaha Hadid Architects and BDP have complied – revealing average hourly pay discrepancies of up to 29.5% in the latter’s case – the vast majority of UK practices employ fewer than 250 staff and are therefore exempt from reporting.

But the RIBA has chosen to voluntarily publish its own equal pay data and called on small and medium-sized firms to do the same, in a move likely to be seen as an acceptance that gender-related pay differences are an issue the whole sector needs to get to grips with.

Its figures show that the average hourly rate of pay for female staff was 14.6% lower than for male counterparts on the “snapshot date” in April 2017, while the difference in median rates was 4.05% lower. The institute said no staff were paid bonuses.

RIBA president Ben Derbyshire (pictured) said he was “proud” to represent an organisation that was leading by example and voluntarily sharing its gender pay data and analysis.

“I encourage practices with fewer than 250 staff to follow suit, and publish their data,” he said.

“The RIBA executive and trustees are focused on ensuring our institute is in the best possible shape to give our members the support they need to succeed now and in the future – diverse and talented staff are absolutely key to achieving this.”

RIBA chief executive Alan Vallance said that the while the organisation’s gender-pay data compared favourably to the national average, it was recognised that there was room for improvement. He noted that 63% of the organisation’s staff were female, but men were “currently overrepresented” in senior roles.